17 June 2016

Sounds Air to take over Air New Zealand route between Christchurch and Blenheim



Sounds Air today announced it is taking over the Christchurch to Blenheim route that Air New Zealand recently announced it was axing. The regional airline specialist will assume the service on August 1, flying twice daily Monday-Friday. Managing director Andrew Crawford said the connection between Christchurch and Blenheim is of critical importance. “We have been overwhelmed with support to take on the sector since it was announced that Air New Zealand was stopping the service. The local health board sees it as a vital medical link between the regions with many passengers travelling to Christchurch for treatment. Business support has been very high with a great reluctance to have to travel to Christchurch via Wellington. “Initially we’ll be able to cater for 180 people each week but there’s plenty of room to grow if the route is well supported. Additional lunchtime and weekend flights, which we are planning to introduce before the end of the year, will add another 120 seats a week. This will mean we will potentially be able to cater for more than 300 passengers on the route each week.” Sounds Air will use the same Pilatus PC12 nine seater planes it flies on the Wellington to Taupo and Westport sectors. These aircraft have been very well received since their introduction over a year ago. The privately owned airline was traditionally known for its services out of Marlborough Sounds but has undergone dramatic growth in the past 18 months, expanding its usual services and also picking up two other routes dropped by Air New Zealand – the Wellington to Westport and Wellington to Taupo sectors. Established 30 years ago, the company employs over 60 staff – including 24 pilots, most of whom are based in Wellington. “In December 2003, we had one plane and 14,000 passengers. By end of 2016 we will have nine aircraft and close to 100,000 passengers. This has been achieved by offering fantastic service in modern, comfortable aircraft.” Last year, highly respected businessman and former Deputy Chairman of Lloyd’s of London John Stace was appointed as the new Chairman of Sounds Air.

Source : Sounds Air Press Release


21 comments:

  1. Their fares are a bit on the high side at $199ow. I guess they are a monopoly now. Still cheaper to fly via Wellington for less than $100 one way on Air NZ.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Replies
    1. BHE - CHC direct had incredibly large quantities of aggressively low fares while trying to stimulate interest in Q300 services. It failed.
      Now the die hards that still want to go direct can go on the 8 seater and pay eagle air prices for one less engine and one less pilot.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Sounds Air Pilatus' still have 2 pilots

      Delete
    4. Pilatus has one pilot

      Delete
    5. The PC12 is very small a metro of Air Chats would be the right size aircraft for this route. There for the seats are limited and hence expensive and most likely be sold out only 18 available per week day. Shame they not use the Caravan at least it would have more seats.

      Delete
  3. The Q300 schedule was not great... The fares are probably less than the 1900 fares... Sounds Air has a history of building services. Time will tell!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So Steve.... will we be receiving that long a waiting news that you have been waiting with long anticipation...
      A couple of years ago Vincent won the "contract" to fly to masterton with the Saab requiring the least amount of runway re-work... for them to the end up going bust...
      Look who has a Saab NOW!!!! What do you think..? Hope no harsh words or feelings were said back then..? Metro for Whanganui and Saab for Masterton

      Delete
  4. But Vincent's competition was Air Chats with a Metro... I still think a Metro would be a better fit for MRO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steve, do you see CV doing AKL/MRO/AKL with a Metroliner once they officially own the Saab?

      Delete
    2. Oops sorry my bad, English was not my most favorite subject at school.
      What I ment was, during the process the two airlines were going through for operations out of Masterton, Air Chats missed out because their metro required Masterton to lengthen it's runway whereas Vincent was confident that their Saab was able to operate out of Masterton as it was. But now that Air Chats have a Saab..? Would or could Air Chats go back to Masterton and put in a offer..? Vincet must have seen some potential with a 30 seater cause they had a couple of 19 seater b1900 and j32 to call on..?. Unless air Chats and masterton have some hard feelings, cause didn't Vincent come in at the 11th hour with a offer they couldn't refuse.? I do wonder how Vincent would have faired had they not gone bankrupt.? A fleet of a dash 8, j32 a Bae146 a Saab and a b1900.. one wonders if they could have operated a intridict network.?

      Delete
    3. But Vincent Aviation had gone into receivership in 2014 and is no longer in existence.

      Delete
    4. Why on earth would they operate a Saab to MRO when it is quite possibly the perfect aircraft for Whanganui. Friday nights getting back to WAG were always a problem, having 34 seats will be brilliant! Air Chats will use the other Metro as backup, which is precisely what Kiwi didn't have

      Delete
  5. So...
    How long will it be before we see the Saab with a repaint and in what scheme.? Or at the very least... how long will the ghosts of kiwi air remain with us until a interm livery on the saab is put in place..?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a reader, can we post the right comments in the right postings? This is about Sounds Air. I go through and like to read the comments about the relevant airline.

      Delete
    2. +2. Great news Sounds Air!!

      Delete
    3. For a aviation nut as myself I'd just like to say that.. I wish all the best for Sounds air and I hope that they become something like Ansett nz and grow into a nationwide airline then for them to go further. It is truly an exciting time in nz aviation history and I hope that all of these 2nd/3rd levelers go on and add their own true kiwiana hospitality to each and everyone one of the heartland airports that Air nz pull out of and also add some colour to a once very drab scene at most of our "local" airports... Air nz is a great export for a country of 4 million but.. region wide.. it's not the means of everything.

      Delete